I love exploring Northeast Pennsylvania and beyond, and a day of family fun is sometimes just a road trip away.
What: Lake Tobias Wildlife Park
Where: 760 Tobias Road, Halifax, PA 17032
Distance from Scranton: 106 miles (about 2 hours)
I usually have a love/hate relationship with zoos. I love that my daughters get to see animals, learn more about them and then hopefully desire to conserve our earth and the animals’ habitats. But I hate seeing animals in cages and habitats that are too small. I was delightfully surprised when we visited Lake Tobias Wildlife Park this summer.
We got there a few minutes after the park opened at 9:30 a.m. and quickly got in line to board one of the safari buses — school buses with the tops removed. We bought dry food and carrots to feed the animals, and after waiting about five minutes were off to explore the 150 acres of rolling hills and woodlands. A giant bull elk was the first to come over to the safari bus, and he enjoyed a few of our carrots. On the 45-minute ride, we saw a variety of animals and my girls loved every minute of it.
After the safari ride, we enjoyed visiting the petting zoo (seeing a 16-month-old feeding goats was adorable) and the reptile house, too. Tickets for the zoo exhibits and safari tour are $15 per person, and children 2 and under are free.
- Visit the reptile house. It opened a couple hours after the rest of the park on the day that we visited, which meant we had to go to other exhibits first and make a special trip back around. My daughters got to pet a snake and an alligator that day. We were sad to miss the reptile show scheduled for that afternoon, but there was no way the baby was going to last that long without a nap.
- If it’s warm outside, I’d go on the safari ride first thing in the morning, when animals would be more likely to be active.
- There are multiple picnic areas with playgrounds, and you can pack your own lunch. We opted to buy instead and enjoyed delicious (and reasonably-priced) bison burgers. We were relieved to hear the bison meat was from an ethically-sourced farm and not from the bison we had seen on the tour.
Looking for more road trip ideas? Read my previous NEPA road trip features: Sesame Place
Sarah balances life as a reporter for The Times-Tribune and as the mom of two little girls. A graduate of Ithaca College, Sarah started covering education in 2006. She has received awards for her reporting from the Society of Professional Journalists, Pennsylvania Newsmedia Association, Inland Press Association and Pennsylvania Women’s Press Association. She lives in Clarks Summit with her husband, their daughters and their sweet pug, Sadie. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org, 570-348-9133 or @HofiusHallTT.